Daniel’s HIV story

With described video

Transcript

Transcript

Daniel:

U = U, it’s kind of changed everything. As long as I take my medication, I’m gonna live a long life, a long healthy life.

My name is Daniel. I’m two spirit. I’m living with HIV.

Text on screen: The only way to know your status is to get tested.

In 2015, I was homeless, sleeping outside in Beacon Hill Park and I was getting sick, and just feeling really kind of flu-like symptoms that kind of went on and on. And I went to a street nurse and got tested, and then a week later she found me again and said, “You’re positive for HIV” and they also said, “You have cancer.” I was devastated. Felt like a death sentence at the time.

Yvonne:

My name is Yvonne and I’m Daniel’s mum. We spent a lot of time crying together, just being together, just trying to understand what was happening. Now, being on the other side of that struggle, I think his life is the best it’s ever been. He has a future.

Daniel:

After chemo and radiation, I developed asthma, so having a chair just helps me get around and have a full day. I’m not gonna be in a wheelchair forever.

Text on screen: U = U (undetectable = untransmittable)

My cancer’s in remission and the HIV is undetectable right now. U = U is undetectable equals untransmittable, so as long as I stay on that medication, there’s not enough viable virus for a positive reaction in a test.

Text on screen: Treatment prevents the transmission of HIV.  

Kind of destigmatizing myself and learning the actual medical facts about it, really changed everything. I have a chronic manageable illness just like someone with diabetes—take your medication every day and you’re good.

Yvonne:

I don’t worry about day-to-day, that he’s gonna be alright. I know he’s gonna be alright.

Daniel:

My family’s a big support. I think the more I can share with them...

Text on screen: People with HIV on treatment can live long and healthy lives.

...and the more confident I am and the more I learn, the more I can reassure them that I’m going to live a long, healthy life.

When I’m having a bad day, nature takes me out of myself. There’s always lessons to be learned in animals and plants. I’ve always had this deep connection with any living thing.

Really reconnecting with my indigenous heritage, delving into that and really exploring that has been huge for me. There’s so many opportunities that I never thought I could, never thought I would have or never thought I was worth having, and, yeah, I’m really excited.

Right now, I’m working at the first organization that really helped me find peers and get together with folks and get a handle on the whole diagnosis.

My path now is to use my lived experience to help others.

Saying like, “I’ve lived through cancer, I’m living with HIV, I’ve been homeless, I’ve had substance issues, I’m gay, I’m two spirit, and I’m okay, I’m doing awesome”, right, and someone else can do awesome too. So I want to use my lived experience to help people.

Text on screen: Get the facts about HIV. Together, let’s stop stigma. Visit Canada.ca/hiv.

Narrator:

A message from the Government of Canada.

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